LiveNorth-East Football Live: Saturday, August 9

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  • Middlesbrough entertain Birmingham City in opening Championship game
  • Hartlepool United travel to Stevenage in League Two
  • Sunderland host Udinese in their final pre-season friendly


FT: Stevenage 1 Hartlepool 0

Pools pressed and huffed and puffed for a leveller.  Best chance came when Collins glanced a header wide from a Compton corner.

Sub Brobbell went down in the area in the last miunute of six added on for injury time, but referee Mark Haywood was having none of it.


Middlesbrough 2 Birmingham 0

Three minutes of normal time remaining, and Boro are heading for a comfortable, and thoroughly deserved, win.

Tomlin has just gone off to be replaced by Luke Williams, and his effective interplay with Kike has been a key part of Boro's performance.

It's early days, but that definitely looks like a partnership that could do good things this season.


Sunderland 2 Udinese 0

Here's your full-time match report


Middlesbrough 2 Birmingham 0

Since that goal, Kike has gone close again - and had the ball gone in, it would have been a cracker.

Kike took a quick free-kick to Tomlin, and when he received the ball back again from his team-mate, he was wide open in the air.

Unfortunately, his shot was too close to Randolph, but the routine was extremely well worked.


Sunderland 2 Udinese 0


Middlesbrough 2 (Kike 66) Birmingham 0

Slight loss of connection here, but Boro lead 2-0 thanks to Kike's first goal in English football.

Tomlin's shot was blocked in the box, but Boro's new Spanish striker reacted quickest to swivel and drill the ball home.


Sunderland 2 Udinese 0

That's all of Sunderland's changes made now, as Bridcutt replaces Cattermole.  86 played here at Heritage Park.


Stevenage 1 Hartlepool 0

Pools trailing, game has gone a bit tame now. Stevenage quite adept at killing games off and taking the sting out of things when they lead, as Pools are discovering now. 

Two subs for Pools on - Brobbel and Franks on for Walker and Parnaby with 14 to go 


Sunderland 2 Udinese 0

Mavrias goes off, Watmore comes one, while Bridcutt readies himself for action. Substitutions have taken the fizz out of this, but safe to say that Sunderland look home and hosed.


Sunderland 2 Udinese 0

Graham and N'Diaye on for Fletcher and Gomez


Middlesbrough 1 Birmingham 0

Another decent chance for Boro. Ayala found himself unmarked at a corner again, Kike flicked the ball on in the box, but Randolph got down well to save.


Stevenage v Hartlepool

Another fine Flinders save - his third of the game - keeps Pools level at 0-0. 

Make that four, as he's just saved again.

And now, as I type, he's beaten. A low volley from Whelpdale fizzed past him. Pools 1-0 down. 


Middlesbrough 1 Birmingham 0

Birmingham full-back Eardley becomes the first player to enter the referee's book after one foul too many for Graham Sailsbury's liking.

The Blues have also made a change, bringing on Duffy for the thoroughly ineffectual Shinnie.


Sunderland 2 Udinese 0

Altidore and Roberge on for Wickham and Vergini


Middlesbrough 1 Birmingham 0

Boro have picked up where they left off at the start of the second half, and Adomah has just gone close to adding a second goal.

He was slipped in behind the defence by Kike, but his shot was blocked by the legs of Birmingham keeper Randolph.


Sunderland 2 (Wickham 58) Udinese 0

Sunderland cruising now, 2-0 up in the space of two minutes. Connor Wickham converts the penalty after Vergini was felled by Igor Bubnjic.


Sunderland 1 (Vergini 56) Udinese 0

Vergini is first to react to Jordi Gomez's corner kick


Middlesbrough 1 Birmingham 0

Back up and running in the second half - with no half-time changes from either side.



Sunderland 0 Udinese 0

Zeljko Brkic makes a good stop from Wickham's powerful free-kick after the striker had been felled.


Sunderland 0 Udinese 0

Jack Rodwell and Costel Pantilimon are replaced at half-time by Liam Agnew and Vito Mannnone respectively.


Stevenage 0 Hartlepool 0

Physical, combative and 100 miles an hour in 45 minutes of the new season.

Pools are defending well, and stoutly, while Flinders has made two key saves from close range. 

At the other end, Compton hit the bar early, and Parnaby swept wide from 16 yards. 



Middlesbrough 1 Birmingham 0

Half-time, and Boro deservedly lead 1-0.

They haven't really tested Randolph enough in the Birmingham goal, but their passing interplay has been slick and they've dominated possession for the majority of the first half.


Sunderland 0 Udinese 0

And that's half-time. Little to set the pulses racing here. At least the sun has come out.

Seen some nice stuff from Jack Rodwell thus far but can't help thinking there's something missing from Sunderland. A spark, someone to ignite the game.


Sunderland 0 Udinese 0



Sunderland 0 Udinese 0

Tom Robson comes on for Patrick van Aanholt, who had earlier received treatment.

Meanwhile, Luis Fruto Muriel made the most of a mistake at the back by Wes Brown and drew a save out of Pantilimon.




Stevenage v Hartlepool

No goals, but Pools were reliant earlier on a fine six-yard box tackle from Brad Walker as Chris Whelpdale was about to score.

Not long after and Marriott went down in the area looking for a penalty in dramatic style. Referee Haywood was rightly having none of it. 


Middlesbrough 1 (Ayala 33) Birmingham 0

Boro break the deadlock, and their opening goal of the season could hardly have been any simpler.

Leadbitter delivered a corner from the right, and Ayala found himself unmarked as he planted home a powerful header from eight yards out.


Sunderland 0 Udinese 0

Good save by Costel Pantilimon from Loureiro Allan who shot from distance.

Chances-wise, not much to report. Both sides have seen an equal amount of the ball but the game is, at present, lacking the killer breakthrough.


Middlesbrough 0 Birmingham 0

Tomlin is still Boro's liveliest attacker, and he's just dragged a shot past the left-hand post from the edge of the area.

Birmingham are looking fairly well-organised in defence, but it's Boro who are asking most of the attacking questions.


Middlesbrough 0 Birmingham 0

Best chance of the game for Boro, at the end of a really good passing move. Tomlin slipped in Kike inside the area, and the summer signing lofted a first-time strike just over the bar with his left foot.

Kike and Tomlin have both made good starts.


Stevenage v Hartlepool

A very lively opening 15 minutes to the season. 

Pools hit the bar early, but Stevenage been getting their game into gear. It's a physical way of playing and that's why Pools have Sam Collins in the side to combat it. 


Middlesbrough 0 Birmingham 0

Birmingham have their first opportunity, but Gray fails to trouble Mejias with a long-range free-kick.

Whitehead has struggled to get to the pace of the game so far, putting Leadbitter into trouble with a couple of slack passes inside his own half.


Sunderland 0 Udinese 0

Even start here at Heritage Park. Sunderland and Udinese both keeping the ball well but neither have really troubled the goalkeepers.


Middlesbrough 0 Birmingham 0

Boro have just created the first chance of the game, with Tomlin turning on the edge of the area before shooting over the bar.

Tomlin is finding some decent space early on, and Boro have started fairly brightly in attack.


Middlesbrough 0 Birmingham 0

Four minutes gone - and Boro have already been forced into their first change.

Ben Gibson was injured after just 15 seconds when he was brushed aside by Wesley Thomas, and he seems to have damaged his knee.

He's off - with Kenneth Omeruo on to replace him.


Stevenage v Hartlepool

Two mins in - first chance of the season for Pools, as Jack Compton clips the crossbar from 12 yards. 


Middlesbrough 0 Birmingham 0

We're off and running at the Riverside - and it's not been a good first minute, with Ben Gibson already down and needing treatment.


Sunderland 0-0 Udinese



Sunderland v Udinese, pre-season friendly, Heritage Park

Teams about to come out here in Bishop Auckland. Not sure how close this XI is to being Poyet's first choice at The Hawthorns next week, but it's certainly the strongest squad of pre-season thus far.

I'm yet to see Jack Rodwell in a red and white shirt, so it should be an interesting one.


Middlesbrough vs Birmingham

It might be a new season, but the pre-match music selection at the Riverside certainly hasn't improved.

The usual mixture of chart rubbish and uninspired oldies. Let's hope the football is a bet better....






Stevenage v Hartlepool 

THREE players make their Pools debuts at Stevenage.

Tommy Miller, Stuart Parnaby and Matthew Bates all start, with centre-half Bates appointed skipper.

Sam Collins is at centre-half, with new signings Michael Woods and Ryan Brobbel on the bench.

STEVENAGE: Beasant; Ashton, Worley, Wells, Dembele; Pett, Lee, Bond, Whelpdale; Marriot, Charles. Subs: Day (gk), Calcutt, Okimo, Johnson, Deacon.

HARTLEPOOL UNITED: Flinders; Duckworth, Collins, Bates, Austin; Walker, Miller, Parnaby, Compton; James, Harewood. Subs: Dixon (gk), Holden, Franks, Woods, Brobbel, Hawkins, Richards.

Referee: Mark Haywood (Leeds)


Middlesbrough vs Birmingham

Lovely sunny day at the Riverside, with the atmosphere slowly starting to build.

Ex-Boro defender Jonathan Grounds is in a Birmingham starting line-up that shows a whole host of changes from last season, with Lee Clark having brought in 14 new players since the end of the last campaign.


Sunderland v Udinese, pre-season friendly, Heritage Park

Team news IN! It looks as though it could be a loose 4-4-2 here, with Charis Mavrias and Jordi Gomez either side of Jack Rodwell and Lee Cattermole, with Steven Fletcher and Connor Wickham in attack.

Looking forward to seeing Mavrias in his natural winger role, whether that be on the right or on the left cutting in. One thing he's got is bags of pace.

Sunderland (4-4-2): Pantilimon, Vergini, Brown, O'Shea, van Aanholt; Mavrias, Cattermole, Rodwell, Gomez; Wickham, Fletcher. Subs:Mannone, Bridcutt, N'Diaye, Altidore, Graham, Agnew, Robson, Roberge, Watmore.

Udinese: Brkik, Danilo, Allan, Danu, Bubnjic, Guilherme, Muriel, Widmer, Gabriel Silva, Heurtaux, Thereau. Subs: Scuffet, Bruno, Lopez, Zapata, Belmonte, Pasquale, Jankto, Zielinski, Meret.


Middlesbrough vs Birmingham

Aitor Karanka has named two of his summer signings in the starting line-up for today's Championship opener against Birmingham City.

Tomas Mejias starts in goal after making a permanent move from Real Madrid during the close season, while at the other end of the field, Kike makes his senior debut after completing a £2.8m move from Real Murcia.

Seb Hines starts at right-back, with Kenneth Omeruo deemed to be lacking fitness following his extended break in the wake of the World Cup finals.

After a strong pre-season, Adam Reach is named on the left of midfield, with Albert Adomah lining up on the opposite flank.

There is no place in the squad for Jacob Butterfield, although the midfielder remains a Boro player as things stand despite having held further talks with Huddersfield Town.

Middlesbrough (4-2-3-1): Mejias; Hines, Ayala, Gibson, Friend; Leadbitter, Whitehead; Adomah, Tomlin, Reach; Kike.

Subs: Konstantopoulos (gk), Husband, Omeruo, Smallwood, Fewster, L Williams, Nsue.


Sunderland v Udinese, pre-season friendly, Heritage Park

Just awaiting the team news here in Bishop Auckland ahead of this afternoon's pre-season friendly, the final game of Sunderland's preparations before the season begins in earnest in seven days' time.

It never just begins, does it? It always begins 'in earnest' - just as tomorrow's Community Shield is the 'traditional curtain raiser'. 


Middlesbrough vs Birmingham

The team news should be through in quarter of an hour or so. I'm told Jacob Butterfield won't be involved - although he's not a Huddersfield yet. Similarly, there's no Adam Clayton, with his proposed move from Huddersfield still in the 'wrangling' phase.

Kike should make his first senior start though, and it'll be interesting to see whether it's Kenneth Omeruo or Seb Hines at right-back.




Just to get you in the mood for today's Boro game, here's Aitor Karanka's thoughts ahead of the new season:

Karanka: It's my team now

And here's today's Saturday Spotlight with Kenneth Omeruo as he reflects on swapping a summer in Brazil with a date against Birmingham:

Saturday Spotlight: Omeruo shifts focus from Brazil to Birmingham


Here's the scene outside the Riverside, with another season about to begin....

The Northern Echo:


The sun might be shining, but from a footballing point of view, the summer is well and truly over.

The Football League season begins today, and we've got reporters with Middlesbrough and Hartlepool United as they start their campaigns in the Championship and League Two respectively.

We'll also be covering Sunderland's final pre-season friendly as they take on Udinese at Heritage Park


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